PUBLIC TALK: Visas, Visits and Refusals: working in the borderzones of resilience, distress and wellbeing
|Visas, Visits and Refusals: working in the borderzones of resilience, distress and wellbeing
A public talk by Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow and Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies.
At times of great human suffering we see extraordinary courage and compassion. Receiving communities across Europe, such as Calais and Lesbos, have led with creativity, practical action, and costly generosity. Individuals and local groups have led where larger institutions and some governments have been slow, reluctant and mired in outdated thinking and ineffective solutions.
At the same time we have witnessed a rise in xenophobia and structural violence against refugees. This is something that Europe has witnessed before, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and we have much to learn from history. The last time Europe faced such numbers of refugees, it failed. In the face of this failure, in December 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the 56 members of the United Nations. These very articles however, are now in peril.
In this talk, Alison Phipps will make a poetic and critical reflection on the borderzones and visa regimes operating across several large academic and artistic projects. She will argue that when homes, livelihoods, dignity and lives are destroyed, those of us with privilege and mandates should offer solidarity, practical action and learn from those with direct experience, rather than relying on second hand assumptions.
This presentation will also consider what it means to bear witness. Professor Phipps will discuss the uncomfortable, provoking and transformative dimensions of being physically immersed in experiences of refusal and separation and how it changes those who are witnesses, often profoundly.
Professor Phipps is a visiting Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Australian Sociological Association Conference being held at UWA from 27 -30 November.
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